Investing in the Planet

As a climate risks and decarbonization manager at Hartree Partners, Andres Fernandez, Class of 2015 is tackling a unique and critical sustainability challenge. His work helps companies and governments achieve their decarbonization goals through strategic investments, industrial roadmaps, and contributions to natural capital via carbon markets.

NYUAD: Who are your clients, and how do you assist them?

My clients are major emitters of greenhouse gases, grappling with the challenges of transitioning to a low-carbon economy. While they are motivated by good intentions and aware of existing solutions, the reality is that these solutions cannot always be implemented seamlessly, nor will they eliminate emissions entirely. 

In response, we offer a portfolio of solutions tailored to include technological and nature-based strategies designed to enhance, restore, and protect ecosystems, ensuring benefits for biodiversity. Our approach involves devising investment strategies that bring together finance, energy, and carbon markets to address vital areas like promoting low-carbon fuels or combating deforestation. Doing so ensures that investments are accurately integrated and accounted for within the corporation’s environmental and financial objectives. 

NYUAD: How do you approach motivating these companies toward decarbonization?

It’s about getting companies in traditional sectors to think about alternatives. I'm not saying let’s get oil and gas companies to become renewable energy companies. That's not who they are, that's not their DNA. Instead, I highlight the solutions already out there — how to leverage these opportunities, mitigate risks, and push technological boundaries. This way, I motivate clients to adopt a proactive stance on climate-related risks rather than a reactive one.

NYUAD: Are you seeing any progress?

Yes, but far from enough. We are seeing more and more work being done by policymakers, acting on the urgency to address environmental degradation. We are now seeing investments in nature and biodiversity and low-carbon projects. However, we are not doing enough. The scale of the impact is so large that we need systematic changes to keep this planet livable.

NYUAD: How did NYUAD shape your trajectory?

NYU Abu Dhabi, its people, and the liberal arts experience inspire my work and conversations even today. There's no richer experience. The diversity in thought and perspective pushed me to get out of my comfort zone, grow, and stay humble. NYU Abu Dhabi represents a magical, renewable source of love, hope, and faith for me today.

NYUAD: How do you feel about our climate future?

Both excited and frightened. I’ve dedicated my life, childhood passions, and emotions to this pursuit. I now look left and right, and many people who perhaps were not so dedicated to the cause years ago are now working toward decarbonization solutions. I’m encouraged to see so much intellectual potential behind this mission. But still, a lot more people need to join this global challenge and take on apparent sacrifices. This is the greatest challenge of our time.